Marketing For Tech Companies: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

James Devonshire / Tech

Information technology is invariably the vital linchpin that enables businesses in every sector to innovate faster, operate more efficiently, and realize more strategic opportunities. It’s hardly surprising, then, that Gartner predicts worldwide IT spending will reach almost $3.6 trillion this year – up from $3.4 trillion just two years ago.

But while organizations today undeniably have an insatiable lust to partner with forward-thinking tech companies and take advantage of the latest tech offerings to achieve their strategic goals, all this demand has led to the tech marketplace becoming increasingly competitive.

Tech Firms Placing Increased Importance On Digital Marketing

To stand out on this aggressive, crowded landscape, IT firms must ensure they are getting the most bang for their marketing bucks, which, according to recent research, will rely heavily on their digital marketing efforts.

Indeed, The CMO Survey August 2017, supported by Deloitte and conducted biannually by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business marketing professor Christine Moorman, tech companies will increase their marketing budgets by 12.2% over the next 12 months.

In fact, only the banking/finance/insurance industry and the consumer packaged goods industry will increase their marketing budgets by more in the same period – at 15.6% and 12.7% respectively.

The tech industry will hire 10.3% more marketers over the next year.Click To Tweet

The CMO Survey also includes some in-depth insights into how tech firms view digital marketing initiatives.

At present, tech firms are currently spending 10.02% of their total marketing budgets on social media, 6.19% on mobile marketing, and 4.79% on marketing analytics. However, these figures are expected to increase significantly in the future.

Social media spending by tech firms will rise to 14.65% of total marketing budget in the next five years – an increase of 46.2%.

Mobile marketing spending by tech firms will rise to 15.33% of total marketing budget in the next three years – an increase of 147.66%.

Mobile mktg spending by tech firms will rise to 15.33% of total mktg budget in the next 3 years. Click To Tweet

Marketing analytics spending by tech firms will rise to 20.37% of total marketing budget in the next three years – an increase of 325.27%.

These figures are a testament to just how much importance tech firms will be placing on digital marketing going forward.

How Can Tech Companies Use Marketing To Stand Out From The Crowd?

Create meaningful and organic connections

While many tech companies boast beautifully engineered and innovative products/solutions, few understand the importance of connecting with potential customers on a useful and natural level.

Often, their dazzling tech takes center stage in the belief that it will sell itself. And while this is sometimes the case, it doesn’t always happen.

That’s why even tech companies with products and services that are best in class cannot overlook the power of creating meaningful and organic connections with the decision makers that matter to them.

These are real people who can be reached out to and engaged so that their understanding of the tech company’s offering can become more in-depth as a value proposition.

It’s all about sending the right messages to tightly-defined niches across a range of mediums.

Facilitate human interaction

Even in the B2B realm where most tech companies operate, face time with prospects is still highly valuable. To get ahead, firms need to break down the faceless barriers that stand between themselves and their prospects by interacting face-to-face, in a way that also complements their digital marketing efforts, too.

This can occur in the form of an industry event or, quite simply, a site visit where prospects get to see the men and women behind a tech company’s success. Such insights are invaluable as they put a face on the organization, enhancing the meaningful and organic connections spoken about in the previous point.

Get personal

According to the findings of Demand Gen Report’s 7th Annual B2B Buyer’s Survey, a whopping 92% of buyers highlighted the growing impact of sales teams that had insights about personalized company needs.

One respondent provides the following feedback of an experience they had with a sales representative: “Could have done a stronger demo that included examples of how we could use the product to meet our unique needs instead of generic examples.” This is a prevalent theme.

If that doesn’t highlight the need for tech companies to get personal in their marketing efforts, then nothing will. You have to meet different expectations by solving unique organizational or personal challenges.

To stand out from the crowd, customize your marketing offerings, demonstrations, resources, whatever it is, to connect with B2B buyers on a personal level and in a way that highlights how your product/solution solves their pain points.

Adopt a multi-channel approach

Where marketing is concerned, it’s never been a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket. That’s acutely the case today when it comes to marketing for tech companies.

Chances are the people you want to reach out to aren’t all using one particular channel or hanging out in all the same places online. That’s why a multi-channel approach is a must.

For a start, have you considered these areas:

  • Social media advertising (i.e., paid social)
  • Online advertising (i.e., PPC)
  • Inbound marketing (i.e., resource downloads)
  • Outbound prospecting (i.e., email and telemarketing)
  • Referrals
  • Up-sells and cross-sells

The key to all of this is adopting a unique approach based on the channel you are targeting. For example, an online advertising approach is going to differ from a customer referral campaign, which is why your efforts need to be tailored accordingly for each eventuality.

Social media isn’t just for B2C

On the face of it, social media marketing may seem like a tool that can only be leveraged by B2C businesses. The reality, though, is that it’s also a powerful medium for B2B companies, too.

Let’s not forget that The CMO Survey August 2017 revealed how tech companies will increase their social media spending by 46.2% in the next five years.

Unfortunately, businesses that don’t will fall behind and miss vital B2B opportunities – especially when you consider that 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level/VP executives use social media while making purchasing decisions [source: IDC].

75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level/VP executives use social media while making purchasing decisionsClick To Tweet

High-quality content

Companies in every sector understand the importance of digital content and online assets. But that’s something which has led to more and more content being produced.

The only way to place yourself above the rest of the field in the content wars is by consistently creating high-quality content that not only resonates with your audiences but makes them yearn for more.

It’s these types of relationships that help nurture the meaningful and organic connections already mentioned.

Furthermore, content is one key area where tech companies can get personal and shape their offerings to reverberate with prospects on a personal level – a level that applies specifically to their businesses.

Video is fast becoming the new benchmark

Video – especially live video – has become a significant force to be reckoned with in the digital marketing world. More and more companies are looking to create original video content that prospects can consume while on-the-go.

Consider switching those dull-looking data sheets to a short, engaging video that highlights all the pertinent aspects and specifications of your offering.

Also, just because you’re a B2B tech provider, doesn’t mean you can’t inject a little humor into multimedia content such as videos, webinars, and podcasts. In fact, videos that provide a behind-the-scenes look at a company are a great way to put a face on your organization and separate you from the competition.

Corporate social responsibility initiatives are a particularly good subject matter for more light-hearted videos.

Never neglect existing customers

A big mistake that many companies make is to forget about the people who matter to them the most – their existing customers. However, remarketing to current customers and securing lucrative upsells and cross-sells of additional products, features, and services is one of the best ways tech companies can increase their revenue.

Furthermore, tech companies that pay attention to the wants and needs of their existing customers will enjoy greater retention because they are consistently displaying their ongoing value proposition.

A simple piece of customization for a current customer may not seem like a big win, but it absolutely is if said customer then goes on to renew a big contract with you, or refers one of their corporate contacts as a result.

These custom solutions can also be leveraged from a marketing perspective to show how your business not only values its existing customers but goes the extra mile to satisfy their needs.

Measure sales & marketing ROI

Finally, tech companies need to be on-point when it comes to measuring their sales and marketing ROI. This can only be done through tight metrics and KPIs that are relevant to each marketing initiative.

There’s no point wasting time chasing vanity metrics – like post shares and likes – if they aren’t resulting in leads.

This is one aspect of marketing where tech companies should have a significant advantage. The power to leverage data analytics. The ability to gain powerful insights from marketing data that helps create tangible, data-driven approaches to marketing that are optimized, targeted, and creative going forward.

It all goes back to delivering the right messages, to the right people, at the right time.

Final thoughts – establishing yourself as a thought leader

By successfully nailing all of the points mentioned above, tech companies can soon establish themselves as thought leaders in their particular fields. This is worth its weight in gold.

Whether it’s whitepapers, ebooks, blog posts, or original research, by showing you understand what challenges your target audience is facing and connecting with key decision makers to highlight your value proposition, you can emerge above the other solution providers in your marketplace as a firm that drives real ROI.